The plan was to car camp at the Wire Pass Trailhead the night before we ventured back into The Wave. I did some research to find out what hikes we could explore in Vermillion Cliffs National Monument the day before our hike. I found a treasure trove of photos and blog posts sharing the phenomena called White Pocket.
We hestitantly traversed the four-wheel-drive-only road 30-some-odd miles from the Wire Pass Trailhead and found, to our delight, beautiful rock formations every bit as photogenic as The Wave. And we had the entire place to ourselves the whole day!
After something like 600 photos and approximately four miles of hiking and rock scrambling, we headed back to the Wire Pass Trailhead, this time not quite as squeamish about the deep sand road, as our confidence strengthened during the morning drive.
Instead of car camping in a parking lot, we stayed the night at the Arizona State Line Campground, with real restrooms and picnic tables! This previously unknown (to us) gem is the finish line (or jumping off point, depending on direction of travel) for cyclists (and other trail enthusiasts) doing the AZT, or the Arizona Trail, the southwest version of our very own Colorado Trail back home.
The Colorado Trail encompasses about 500 miles from Waterton Canyon (just outside the Denver metro area) through the Rocky Mountains and skirting some of our famous fourteeners (mountains higher than 14,000 feet) to Durango.
The Arizona Trail is even longer, reaching from the Mexican border to the Utah border across more than 800 miles. It may not climb as high as the Colorado Trail, but it reaches the depths of the Grand Canyon!
We didn't see any hikers or cyclists finishing the epic trail during our brief stay, but it was quite energizing to know what kind of emotions must have been experienced right there, in our camp spot, the first one trail finishers would hit, as cross-country adventurers reached the end of a long, challenging journey.
We've been to The Wave twice now, and we're not done. I don't know if we'll do the advance lottery again, but we would like to go back, and next time, segments of that Arizona Trail might be explored as well! Returning to White Pocket would be awesome, too!